Saturday, January 28, 2017

Microsoft Forms now support Math

My School adopted SharePoint/o365 as a learning platform 1½ ago. Since then I have become a big fan of OneNote and more recently Microsoft Forms.
I have used Microsoft Forms to create:
  • Quick surveys
  • Polls
  • Gather information from a group of people
  • School wide evaluations 
  • In class quizzes embedded in OneNote.
What I like about Forms is that it is extremely fast and intuitive. You can literally create and deploy a survey in less than a minute. At a first glance it can seem like a very simple survey application, but there are some powerful features hidden beneath the hood.
A few days ago Microsoft launched Math support for Forms, at the Bett conference in London. As a math teacher this is very exciting. I have developed a lot of math quizzes using Moodle, which is a very powerful quiz-tool especially when it comes to math support. Unfortunately development of quizzes for Moodle is not for everyone. It requires a lot of training and it can be a tedious time consuming proces. I'm hoping that Forms can be my new best friend when it comes to creating tests and quizzes for formative feedback, as time is scarce.
My initial test shows the following main features of math support in Forms:
  • Type math using on screen template, keyboard shortcuts or Latex for complete control (You can use WordMat to create any math output using the 'convert to Latex' function - alt+t )
  • Auto suggestion of correct answers to your math input  (Yes - and quite powerful!)

The results of quizzes can be graded automatically or manually. Multiple choice questions are graded automatically, whereas text or number input must be graded manually. Hopefully an option for automatic grading of text and number will soon be available. The manual grading feature is quite clever though, you can choose to grade all of the answers to a specific question on one page.
This is a link to a sample Forms quiz using math

Also check out my video demonstrating Math support in Forms:

If you are using OneNote class notebook, deploying the form is as simple as pasting the Forms link on any page. It will then automatically be embedded within that page. You can create forms which only your school students can access, or open anonymous forms which anyone can answer.
It is also very easy to share a Form you have created. You can create a link, which any teacher can use to get a copy of your form(Without the responses😉), or you can create a link to collaborate on a form with your colleagues.

Forms is a new application and still a work in progress. It is going to be exciting to see what new functionality the future will bring. The speed of the development has been quite fast thus far.

Forms is only available for schools with an Office 365 Educaton plan - which comes free of charge.

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